Much has happened since I last sent a letter through regular mail. First of all, my email letters continue to receive a good response. There are always a good number of people that write back with short comments or to let me in on a little bit of what’s happening in their lives. I think the pictures I’ve been including help! That said, my plan is to continue sending email updates on a monthly basis. I’m not saying I’ll never send another paper letter, but for now at least I don’t know when the next one might be. So if you’re still not on my email list but would like to be, please do let me know with a short message (firstname.lastname@example.org). Otherwise, this may the last you hear from me for a while.
Just this past week Ana and I received some sad news from Romania. Florin, the teenage boy that we took in last year, has not been doing well. We received an email from the community that things had advanced to the point where they believed that the care for Florin needed to go back to the state. After many emails back and forth, some long talks through skype, and a lot of tears Ana and I have agreed to give up our legal care and to allow the state to step in. We also found out that Eleni is likely going to choose to leave with Florin. This does not come as a surprise, but it too is very sad.
As you can imagine, being away just makes it that much more difficult for us. Yet, just last night we were at a prayer service at our church here in Omaha and the Lord really encouraged us. He affirmed his love for Eleni and Florin. He affirmed his love for us. We left strengthened, greatly encouraged, and with a deep peace that only comes from the Lord. Praise be to Him.
Please continue to pray for the teens, for our community in Galati, and for us during this time. We know that Eleni and Florin continue to have a Father in heaven that loves them unconditionally and who will be with them, calling them, wherever they are. Pray that they will hear His sweet voice. Pray that our coworkers, especially those that have been caring most closely for the teens these past few months, will be encouraged and strengthened in the Lord. And please pray that the peace that the Lord has given Ana and me will remain. He is always, always faithful.
Please pray for all the activities at the center during the month of December. Because we are away, we don’t even know what they all are, but they will most likely be very similar to years past. Pray for the Christmas pageant the children will have for their parents and siblings. Pray for the nights of caroling with the children (usually one night going to their families and another night for going around to local folks that support and pray for us). Pray for the all-night Christmas party with the children at the center. I understand there are twelve new children since Ana and I have left. I wish we could be there to experience their first Christmas with us. The new kids are always the most fun to watch.
Finally, I just want to say what a joy it is for Ana and me to be in Omaha this Christmas season. It’s hard to believe, but I haven’t been here for Christmas for ten full years! I know my parents have been so looking forward to Christmas this year. Ana and I have, too. Pray that this Christmas will be a sweet, sweet time for us to be with family. I pray that you are able to be with those you love and who love you this Christmas. May your lives and your love continue to bring glory to Jesus.
Paul and Ana